It may only appear in one short scene at the beginning of the opera, but unquestionably one of the stars of every production of The Magic Flute is the serpent that pursues Prince Tamino and is ultimately killed by the Three Ladies. Because our new hi-tech Magic Flute production is so heavily based on projections and digital images (8 projectors!), you might assume that the serpent chasing poor Tamino would simply be an image projected on the wall--but designer Jun Kaneko had a different idea! [Left: Jun Kaneko's design drawing of Tamino facing the two-headed snake]
Posted: 05/22/2012 by San Francisco Opera


Pretty much anyone can recognize an image by graphic artist Michael Schwab—even if you don’t know it yet. He has created award-winning logos and posters for a remarkable list of prestigious clients, including Apple, Amtrak, the Golden Gate National Parks, Major League Baseball, Robert Mondavi, Robert Redford, Sundance and Wells Fargo. His work is easily recognized by his signature use of large, flat areas of color, dramatic perspectives and bold, graphic images of archetypal human forms.

Posted: 05/16/2012 by Michael Schwab (Graphic Artist)


In March the San Francisco Opera Scene Shop in Dogpatch welcomed 88 Kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grade students from Rooftop Alternative School along with their teachers, and parent chaperones for a much anticipated field trip as part of the Education Department’s ARIA Network program. What awaited us was the most amazing, exciting and inspiring experience ever! From the moment the scene shop crew ushered the students into the shop’s cavernous space, and handed them fluorescent pink, blue, green and yellow goggles, they knew they were in for something special. No ordinary field trip, this!
Posted: 05/10/2012 by Mary Ann Cruz (Kindergarten teacher)


 We cannot wait to unveil our brand new production of The Magic Flute, designed for us by visual artist and sculptor Jun Kaneko. His whimsical, colorful and creative production features unique and stunning costumes and a playful world that comes to life through complex projections. One of the (many) challenges that comes with presenting a brand new production is finding appropriate images to promote the opera months in advance, often times when the sets and costumes are yet to be built. This time we really lucked out and had the unique opportunity to have a photo shoot with one of the stars of the show a couple of months before he gets to town to begin rehearsals.
 
Posted: 04/18/2012 by San Francisco Opera


I have received several inquiries into why we are performing our upcoming Magic Flute in English. It’s a good question that deserves an explanation.
 
In Mozart’s time (late 1700’s), Italian was the language of opera. The genre of Italian “opera seria” crossed the Alps and settled in Austria, Germany and England in particular. Audiences in Austria attended “court operas,” supported by the nobility and presented in theaters that were near–or a part of–royal or lordly palaces. One can remember the image of Mozart’s operas being performed in Vienna’s Burgtheater in the film Amadeus. Lots of powdered faces, white wigs and bitchy courtiers. After Cosi fan tutte, Mozart fell out of favor with the Austrian court and lost his salaried position. He was also losing his health.
 
Posted: 03/12/2012 by David Gockley (General Director)


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Introduction

Backstage at San Francisco Opera is a fascinating, fast-moving, mysterious and sacred space for the Company’s singers, musicians, dancers, technicians and production crews. Musical and staging rehearsals are on-going, scenery is loaded in and taken out, lighting cues are set, costumes and wigs are moved around and everything is made ready to receive the audience. From the principal singers, chorus and orchestra musicians to the creative teams for each opera, in addition to the many talented folks who don’t take a bow on stage, this blog offers unique insight, both thought-provoking and light-hearted, into the life backstage at San Francisco Opera.

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